Thomas Tuchel’s three crucial Chelsea fixtures he must win to remain in top four chase

The Blues have a favourable run of games in April that they need to take full advantage of in their quest for Champions League football next season.

Chelsea have two more games to play before the upcoming international break arrives but neither of them are in the Premier League.

The race for the top four takes a back seat until April 3 for the Blues when they take on West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge. Before that, Chelsea take on Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday before hosting Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon.

The Blues are fighting on three fronts for glory this season though the Premier League title is beyond them with Manchester City cantering away to the title this season. But the two cup competitions, they are very much in the race for, much like they are the top four.

The next week will be as crucial to Tuchel as any as he will want to progress through to their quarter finals of the Champions League and a place in the semi’s of the FA Cup awaits the winner on Sunday.

After that and the international break, which still seems very unwise to even be going ahead with the coronavirus pandemic, the Blues have a run of three crucial games that could determine their top four aspirations for the season.

Chelsea are still unbeaten under Tuchel since he replaced Frank Lampard through 12 games and have kept clean sheets in ten of them but have only managed to score 13 times as the Blues strikers mis-fire.

They cannot be underestimated despite their lowly league position, as Tuchel will be well aware of, but it’s a game that on paper at least, the Blues should be winning and winning comfortably.

After West Brom arrive at Stamford Bridge, the Blues are back on the road as they make the short trip of just nine miles to take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Palace are once again comfortable in mid-table, as they usually are with Roy Hodgson in charge, sitting in 11th place as the table currently stands before the Eagles face Everton on April 3.

Tuchel has already made 39 changes to his side since he took over from Frank Lampard, he is yet to name an unchanged starting eleven at all as he endeavours to find his best starting side.

“Obviously there was no time to lose and it is praise for the players and their achievement to adapt and step up so quickly,” Tuchel said when asked about his rotation of players since moving to the capital.

“We need more than 10 or 11 players we trust and we cannot only talk about trust — we have to show them.”

Tuchel will have to use the depth of his expensively assembled and talented squad across the three crucial April fixtures that will go a long way to deciding whether the Blues are aiming for a fourth-place finish, perhaps even higher than that, or face an uphill task to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Godsgift C Ejiama
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